In case you are unfamiliar, Firefly was a short-lived TV show that had a movie called Serenity. It was about Captain Mal Reynolds, an ex-sergeant from a war against unifying worlds into one government—sort of like the few that didn’t join the Federation in Star Trek. His side lost, and so Mal became the captain of a little ship called Serenity, named after the valley he fought his last losing battle in. He and his crew—such that they are—take jobs as they come, despite their legal standing, and somehow things have a way of not going as planned.
It’s true, there are few shows, fandoms, or what have you that I love as much as I love Firefly. In fact, in some ways I could almost say that it beats out every other thing I’ve ever fanned over. This isn’t to say that I love it more, necessarily, but that there’s more to it. Firefly has science fiction, an epic, expansive universe, and diverse and fascinating characters. It has romance, humor, real stakes and lots of secrets—still, even though the show and movie are long over.
Now, I’m not your average Firefly fan, a devoted Whedonite (that’s a fanatic for creator Joss Whedon of Buffy and Angel, both of which are shows I’ve never seen). I have been interested in the show since the beginning, since I saw advertisements for it on Fox before it began. I was particularly interested because of Nathan Fillion, who plays Mal Reynolds—I’d been a fan of his since he was the charming fiancé on Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. (I can also claim having fallen for Ryan Reynolds long before he was on the A List because of this show—do you remember the episode where he tracked Ashley all the way to England—where she wasn’t even, really—just to tell her he loves her, only to find out she has a boyfriend? That’s an overblown sidetrack, but oh man, a little piece of my heart has belonged to that man ever since.)
I never watched the show as it aired. Fox famously played around with the Firefly schedule, changing the time nearly every week and not even showing the episodes in the order they were supposed to play—no wonder it got canceled after only half a season, right?
I didn’t watch the show until just a couple of years ago. And really, I did it for one of the silliest reasons ever. I watched all thirteen episodes and the full-length movie twice in a row (the second time with commentary) in a very short amount of time, all in order to write a compare/contrast between the Serenity crew and the legends of Robin Hood for my Robin Hood class. (Yes, I took an entire course on Robin Hood in college, and it was one of the coolest classes I took in college ever.) I even pitched the idea to my professor before I had seen the show, if you can believe that, just because I’d seen a website somewhere mention that the two stories had vague similarities.
In fact, there were a lot more than I could begin to remember off the top of my head now. Reference to their surroundings by color only (the Green, vs. the Black), refusal to trust someone unwilling to share their actual name, lots of characters that bore similar archtypes to famous merry men, etc.
What started as an idea for a school essay, though, became one of the great fandom loves of my life. If you haven’t dipped yourself into the world of Firefly just yet, I suggest you give it a try. It has a lot of heart, though the movie might break yours, a bit. Did I mention it’s only 13 episodes? Definitely worth the investment of time.
I got an A+ on that essay, by the way. And in that class in general.
Oh, and it’s my birthday. Wish me a happy one!